Jossea K. Rilea
Author + Dreamer
A British speed skating frog does everything in his power to stop the ice from melting after he realizes his lifelong dream to skate in a famous Dutch race may never happen because of climate change and pollution.
Gunther is no ordinary frog. Most frogs are born with an innate ability to swim and catch flies in order to survive but Gunther was born to speed skate! After being imprinted at birth from watching the world's greatest speed skating race on television, Gunther's lifelong dream to become the fastest frog in the universe hits a roadblock. Climate change has melted most of the frozen rivers and streams in England, making Gunther’s dream nearly impossible to train for and obtain. He makes a New Year's resolution to go for it one last time before he's too old, before it’s too late.
In search of ice and motivation, Gunther and his friend Lucy move to the Netherlands, the birthplace of speed skating and home of the "Orange Army,” the most loyal and famous speed skating fans in the world. They chant Dutch folk songs, pound their chests, cheer and dance.
Once there, Gunther realizes his quest to be the best is harder than he thought. Every animal in Holland speed skates —including current reigning world champion, Seppi, a bird with huge thighs visiting from Norway— and they all wear slick, sponsored uniforms to prove it! When Gunther befriends Herman, the Netherlands “ice master,” he learns about a much bigger problem than his competition—climate change is melting the ice in Netherlands, too!
According to Herman, the world is heating up so fast that the world's greatest speed skating race – a grueling race through eleven cities in the Netherlands, covering over two hundred and twenty kilometers – might never run again. He shows Gunther holes along the course from Leewarden to Staum, where the ice could never hold the 16,000 competitors who enter each year. The thought of such a sad end to his lifelong dream sends Gunther into depression.
It isn’t until he meets Ramsey, an eagle who disguises himself as a homeless turkey, that Gunther gets a glimpse of his true potential as a green-bellied frog. He soon realizes there’s a bigger plan for him in life and he must do everything in his power to save the environment and his beloved sport before it’s too late.
Gunther and Herman get to work. They clean the canals as much as they can, removing bubbling, multicolored, toxic sludge, garbage, sewage and pollution from the waterways along the entire course of the race. This tiresome, grueling work also gets Gunther into the best shape of his life.
Then, a miracle happens! A northerly cold snap sweeps in and the newly cleaned canals freeze just enough so that the World Canal Championship Union Officials can declare the race is on!
The anticipation leading up the big day is intense. This is the moment Gunther has trained for his entire life. But just as everything else falls into place, the unthinkable happens. An urban bird, Pigeon, steals his skates and his full-body spandex skinsuit, two impossible items to replace so close to start time. Is he destined to watch his dream slip away from the sidelines?
Gunther digs deep within. He knows the skater’s creed: Think you are beaten and you are. He’s not about to give up now after all he’s given to the sport. He also knows the biggest advantage of all is having a big heart. And so, after all the hours of physical and mental training, after all the planning and dreaming about how the race will go and how it will end, it’s funny how things play out.
Moral of story: Never underestimate the underfrog.
To find out how it ends, the feature length screenplay is available to read by contacting me here.